Anti-abortionist stirs up protest in Poland
A speech by a US pro-life activist at a university in the Polish city of Lublin has triggered a public outcry: Rebecca Kiessling, who was conceived through a rape and raised by a foster family, delivered a speech at the invitation of the Catholic University of Lublin while students demonstrated outside. Should radical anti-abortionists be allowed to speak at Polish universities?
An event like the one featuring Kiessling has no place in Polish universities, feminist Magdalena Środa rails in Gazeta Wyborcza, citing arguments put forward by the pro-life activist:
“'You can forgive the rapist for his sins' and 'God wants every child to be born'. What Kiessling doesn't explain, however, is just why God lets rapists play a role in his plan. Belief plays a significant role in her appearances, as does an ideology that denies women any right to dignity or autonomy. Kiessling isn't an academic or a scientist, she has no funding of her own and doesn't carry out research. She appears at universities as a paid speaker. Even [the Catholic think tank] Ordo Iuris, which invited her, only did so in a roundabout way through a student organisation. Because it knows this visit is pure propaganda.”
Everyone must be allowed to have their say
If advocates of gender research are allowed to speak at Polish universities then a pro-life activist like Kiessling should be allowed to do the same, the Catholic magazine Gość Niedzielny argues:
“Representatives of Gender Studies also give lectures at Polish universities - and are paid with Polish taxpayers' money for doing so, despite the fact that no one checks whether these pseudo-scientists are really competent in their subject. But of course it goes without saying that they are because a few of their know-it-all peers have confirmed this. And the students who have to listen to their talk are wasting their time. … Representatives of Gender Studies and others are actually obliged to speak at universities, yet now they want to ban Kiessling from doing this?”