SU president at centre of anti-abortion stance controversy slams calls for her impeachment

11 October 2017 20:21

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SU president at centre of anti-abortion stance controversy slams calls for her impeachment

Katie Ascough says calls for impeachment are 'without legitimate cause'

President of UCD Students' Union Katie Ascough is now facing a second impeachment vote after another petition on the campus collected 1,200 signatures.

The petition comes after, just weeks into her presidential term, Ms Ascough was criticised after she withdrew information over access to abortion services in a magazine circulated to new students.

Ms Ascough said she took an “executive decision” to redact the information after receiving legal advice that the abortion information was illegal in Ireland, despite the fact the information was previously available in UCD.

The information in the 'Winging It' magazine that was removed included pregnancy help websites, the prices of abortion in other countries and information on abortion pills.

While it is lawful to provide information in Ireland about abortions abroad, it is subject to strict conditions.

Ms Ascough's decision was widely criticised by the student body as the decision to remove the page, which required reprinting the annual guide, was reported to have cost the union about €8,000.

In a letter seen by Independent.ie, Ms Ascough said it "is no secret that she is pro-life and many students are not."

She said the calls for impeachment are "without legitimate cause" and described as "alarming" the "bullying tactics" of a group of students to "try and discard a democratically elected SU president."

"It was clear from the outset that some students didn’t want to give me a chance as SU President because of my views on abortion," she said.

"We don’t have to agree on the issue of abortion, but we should be able to respect each other and not endorse unfair accusations," she said.

"Since the day I was elected, before I’d been put in office, some students were already calling for my impeachment," she wrote.

Ms Ascough pleads her case under four categories; Decision to Follow Legal Advice; Delivering for You; Things to Come and Democracy and Fairness.

She wrote; "The main reason that a group of students are calling for my impeachment is because of my decision to not break the law and illegally distribute abortion information.

"I was aware that the handbook contained abortion information, but was not informed by the editors of the book that it was illegal to distribute this information.

"After the books were printed and delivered, a staff member pointed out various issues including potential illegality of some of the content.

Also read: 'Bullying tactics to try to discard a democratically elected president'

Source: independent.ie

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