Kevin Keane criticised the decision made by University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) President Katie Ascough to retract and reprint their Student Union handbook “Winging It In UCD” because of illegal content about abortions. The handbooks were ordered by the union for students for orientation week.
According to the University Observer, some of the content in the handbook was in breach of the Abortion Information Act of 1995. The handbook contains information about obtaining an abortion safely, and in the retracted version, included price list for different clinics outside Ireland and information about purchasing abortion pills online.
The abortion information is the same as what was printed last year; however, this year students were directed towards a specific website to obtain abortion pills.
Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Kevin Keane condemned Ascough’s decision. “I think the decision to censor what can only be described as vital information from students is very worrying,” he stated.
“From TCDSU’s perspective, we have every intention of disseminating and making available information about access to the abortion pill. Our perspective is that an unjust law is no law at all and this is something that we cannot stand over.”
“Access to abortion is a human right, is a right that every person in Ireland should have access to and the abortion pill is a step in that direction.”
According to the University Observer, the 4 remaining SU sabbatical officers objected to the removal of the details. Before the handbook went to print, all UCDSU sabbatical officers viewed the book; however, Ascough claims that it was only after the handbooks were printed that an issue over the content was raised.
Ascough made the decision to remove the illegal content after a consultation with the Students’ Union’s lawyers.
Ascough had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Additional reporting by Aisling Grace