A 24-year-old Catholic undergraduate student in a midwife program was barred from placement in a hospital, reportedly due to her pro-life beliefs at the University of Nottingham in England but that decision was overturned last week.
The Telegraph newspaper reported that Julia Rynkiewicz, was blocked from entering her program's hospital placement phase at Nottingham University after the institution learned of her pro-life beliefs and her leadership in a pro-life student group.
The newspaper said that Rynkiewicz underwent a "fitness to practice" hearing by the school.
The university overturned its decision and will allow Rynkiewicz to continue as a midwife student, but the investigation and temporary ban from the placement set her back a year in her studies.
'FITNESS TO PRACTICE'
Concerns were raised by school officials about Rynkiewicz's fitness to practice as a midwife after they saw her tending a booth at a school fair in her position as president for Nottingham Students for Life (NSFL), an approved pro-life student group that supports life from conception to natural death
The pro-life midwifery student, who faced suspension from midwifery studies and a fitness-to-practise investigation, also won an apology and a payout from her university.
Although university officials later back-tracked on their decision and dismissed the case against her, Rynkiewicz filed a formal complaint with the university, after believing that she was unfairly targeted for her beliefs.
"What happened to me risks creating a fear among students to discuss their values and beliefs, but university should be the place where you are invited to do just that," Rynkiewicz said.
The Students' Union had initially denied affiliation to NSFL, but overturned its decision in July 2019 following the threat of legal action.
Rynkiewicz said that she received a letter from officials at her midwifery school days after the fair, saying that a formal complaint had been filed against her.
A University of Nottingham spokesperson said: "While all universities take fitness-to-practice considerations extremely seriously, the university has offered an apology and settlement to Ms Rynkiewicz and is considering how we might approach such cases differently in future.
"The university and Students' Union supports the rights of all students to bodily autonomy and access to safe, legal abortion services, which is the position in law.
"Universities should be spaces to debate, discuss and disagree points of view, and with more than 200 student societies, covering the full range of beliefs and perspectives, we are confident this is the case at Nottingham."