Katie Ascough has urged students with pro-life views to “stay strong” and “to follow the courage of their convictions” after receiving an award for her actions as UCD students’ union president.
Ms Ascough, who was impeached for ordering the reprint of a magazine that contained illegal abortion information, said that although it may be difficult for students to stick to their pro-life convictions “it’s absolutely worth it”.
The pro-life advocate was given the Westminster Award for Human Life, Human Rights and Human Dignity in London.
The award is for ‘conscientious integrity in the face of powerful opposition, freedoms of speech, thought and association, and the dignity and right to life of all human beings, especially the most vulnerable’.
It is chosen by the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and the Trustees of Right To Life.
A blind Chinese human rights lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, was the first person to be given the Westminister Award for his work defending the rights of Chinese women and children during the time of China’s one-child policy.
During the ceremony Katie Ascough said that she not only accepted the award herself, but on behalf of “all students and right-to-lifers more generally who suffer unjust discrimination because of their beliefs, in the teeth of bigotry and illiberalism from abortion advocates on campus or in wider society”.
Following Ms Ascough’s decision to remove information regarding abortion which included the price of abortion pills from the freshers’ magazine ‘Winging it’, there was a furore of criticism from within the union and the student population.
Her decision was based on legal advice she received which stated the information could be in breach of the Regulation of Information (Services Outside the State for Termination of Pregnancies) Act of 1995. She was told this could lead to SU members receiving criminal convictions.
This led to a successful campaign that called for her impeachment.
The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and Patron of Right to Life, Fiona Bruce MP, described Ms Ascough as a “brave and intelligent young woman”.
“…I know that her virtues will stand her in good stead for a successful life and a great witness to the humane and civilising principles that have informed, and must more greatly form, the political culture and laws of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, including respect for the dignity and rights of unborn children,” she added.