The ceremony for the Westminster Award for Human Life, Human Rights, and Human Dignity, this year given to erstwhile Irish student leader Katie Ascough, was a great success.
Katie Ascough was impeached last year as President of the University College Dublin Student Union for refusing to publish illegal information about abortion in the fresher’s magazine. This was the latest example of how pro-life students on campus are unjustly discriminated against by abortion activists who occupy positions in Student Unions. More information about her story is available on our website.
At the Westminster Award event, representatives of student groups, right-to-life organisations, press, politicians, and the general public attended a celebration of what Katie stood for and continues to stand for in her activism: 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.
After the Award ceremony in Lords Committee Room 2, the attendees all went to Westminster Hall, a place pregnant with historical significance, to talk to Katie, take photographs, and discuss the important issues raised by the event, as well as to celebrate a happy and successful occasion.
The Westminster Award recognises extraordinary and notable work and achievements that safeguard the dignity and right to life of human beings. Its recipient is chosen by the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and the Trustees of Right To Life, having taken advice from senior Parliamentarians in both Houses. Katie Ascough is being given the Westminster Award this year for her integrity, courage, and public witness in favour of a liberal and open society, as well as the equality and right to life of unborn children.
The first Westminster Award was given to the blind Chinese human rights lawyer and campaigner Chen Guangcheng, for his heroic work defending the rights of Chinese women and children who are victimised by their Government’s population control policies. Last year, the Award was given to Scottish charity leader Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, co-founder of Mary’s Meals, due to his hard work over more than two decades to make sure that the necessities of life are provided to those suffering from some of the worst deprivation in the world today.
Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and a Patron of Right To Life, said:
“It gave me great pleasure, and great honour, to give the ‘Westminster Award for Human Life, Human Rights, and Human Dignity’ to Katie Ascough, for her integrity, her courage, and her public witness in favour of a liberal and open society, and the equality and right to life of unborn children. She is a very brave and intelligent young woman, and 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”.
Katie Ascough, Recipient of the Westminster Award, said:
“I am so truly grateful for this Award bestowed on me by Right To Life, and the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group. I accept it not only on behalf of myself, but 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. I urge such people to stay strong, and to follow the courage of their convictions. It may be difficult, but ultimately, I can assure them, it’s absolutely worth it”.
Councillor Chris Whitehouse KSG, a Trustee of Right To Life, said:
“Katie Ascough should be profoundly proud of her achievements thus far, even as someone at the young age of 21. Right To Life was honoured to have her present, and to be able to draw attention to the issues of unjust disadvantage and attacks on those, whether pro-life students or medical professionals, who follow their conscience in asserting the rights and dignity of every human being. It is absolutely crucial that we defend the right to a free conscience, and celebrate the bravery and courage of those who remain faithful to their moral convictions, even in the face of loss of a position or shameful public treatment by others. Katie deserves wide applause, and we are delighted to have been able to provide the means for celebrating her actions and her mission”.
Lord Alton, senior member of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, and a Patron of Right To Life, said:
“Once again, the Westminster Award was given to a person of great personal integrity of character, and boldness of vision in seeing the possibility of a society where care and killing are never synonyms, but where compassion and justice reign and govern our culture and law in its respect for the lives and dignity of all human beings. I was so very pleased to be able to celebrate her public actions, and her role in the right-to-life movement in Ireland and internationally.
I know her example will inspire many people throughout the country to stand for the rights of all the vulnerable, and insist on the space and liberty to work on campus or in medicine with a clear conscience according to their best moral principles. If we want to live in a truly liberal and diverse society, then we must accommodate even minority moral viewpoints, and it is vital that the humane and just principles of students and others who advocate for protections for all members of the human family have the freedom to live and work in accordance with their passion for justice”.
Right To Life